The bodies of 36 US Marines have been found on a remote Pacific island more than 70 years after they died in a bloody World War II battle. Thanks for your service. Welcome Home.

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The remains of the men were discovered after a four-month excavation on Betio Island in Kiribati, director of US charity History Flight Inc., Mark Noah, told Radio New Zealand.

Noah, whose organisation worked with the US Defense Department on the project, said the men were killed during the Battle of Tarawa in 1943.

"(They) had an expectation that if they were to die in the line of duty defending their country they would be brought home... that was a promise made 70 years ago that we felt should be kept," he said late Tuesday.

While the remains have not been formally identified, Noah said they almost certainly include those of Lieutenant Alexander Bonnyman, who posthumously received America's highest military accolade, the Medal of Honor, for conspicuous gallantry.